Does It Have to Be Gold?


I have always had a passion for beautiful good quality jewellery but never really owned anything more than the odd light weight necklace or ring due to its affordability. Precious metals and gemstones are very expensive and therefore unavailable to the less affluent of our society.

If you cannot afford jewellery made from gold or silver there are alternative options, the most popular being gold or silver plated or electroplated items which use a very tiny amount gold or silver over the surface of a much cheaper metal used to make the item giving the item the appearance of gold or silver.

Rolled gold is another option which uses a thicker layer of gold than the plating process but also over a much cheaper metal used for the core. Although the advantage of this type of jewellery is cost, by far the greatest disadvantage is durability. The surface of plated items will wear away very quickly to reveal the cheap metal underneath and your piece of jewellery will no longer be beautiful and lustrous, not to mention the possibility of discolouration of the skin or an allergic reaction to the cheap metal.

How long this type of jewellery will last obviously depends on how often it is worn but it will not be anywhere near as durable as items made from solid metals.

However, since taking interest in the different types of jewellery available, I have gained some knowledge and insight that I would like to share.

Stainless Steel Jewellery

Stainless steel, in my opinion, is an ideal material for making jewellery as it does not tarnish or fade and is more durable than traditional metals such as gold or silver meaning it is less likely to sustain any scratches or marks and will last several lifetimes over if not longer. It is solid all the way through and not plated, electro plated or rolled. This means that it will never wear away on the surface to reveal a horrible cheap metal used for the core and is less likely to cause any discolouration to the skin or allergic reaction and the metal itself will not oxidise.

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Stainless steel is robust and hard wearing. It is an alloy which means it is a mixture of two or more metals. It is made by mixing ordinary steel (made from iron) with a lesser amount of nickel (a naturally occurring white coloured metal). The act of doing this renders the finished product non-ferrous! The word ferrous comes from the Latin for iron, so non-ferrous means 'non iron'. In real terms this means that non-ferrous metals will not rust, tarnish or oxidise, will NOT draw a magnet, is waterproof and will not deteriorate over time.

This type of metal (stainless steel) is harder and therefore less malleable than most metals used in jewellery making which means it is stronger and less susceptible to damage and is less likely to become misshapen contributing to its durability.

However, by far, the greatest advantage of all is cost. Jewellery items made from stainless steel cost just a small fraction of items made from precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum. This makes beautiful high quality jewellery affordable, durable and available to just about everyone.

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